SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF/CNN) — The Commerce Department plans to restrict access to TikTok and WeChat in the popular app stores of Silicon Valley giants Apple and Google starting on Sunday.
The Department said Friday that as of Sunday, any moves to distribute or maintain WeChat or TikTok on an app store will be prohibited.READ MORE: Former Secretary of State Colin Powell Dies Of Complication From COVID-19
Apple and Google didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
While users who have already downloaded the apps may be able to continue using the software, the restrictions mean updated versions of the apps cannot be downloaded.
“The only real change as of Sunday night will be [TikTok users] won’t have access to improved apps, updated apps, upgraded apps or maintenance,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Friday morning on Fox Business.
The restrictions targeting WeChat are more extensive. Beginning Sunday, it will be illegal to host or transfer internet traffic associated with WeChat, the Department said in a release. The same will be true for TikTok as of Nov. 12, it said.
The Trump administration is currently weighing a proposal involving ByteDance, TikTok’s Chinese parent, and Bay Area-based Oracle, designed to resolve the administration’s national security concerns related to TikTok; the deadline for a deal is Nov. 12.)READ MORE: Australian Singer Clinton Kane Robbed At Gunpoint In San Francisco; 'They Had The Gun In My Face'
TikTok and Tencent, WeChat’s owner, didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
Further restrictions could still be announced later, including against other apps if they are seen to be used as workarounds.
In earlier court filings, the US government suggested that the restrictions on TikTok and WeChat would be limited in scope and not aimed at harming consumers or TikTok’s US employees.
TikTok employees will still be able to receive salaries and benefits and to do their day jobs without running afoul of the ban.
In a separate filing on Sept. 15, the US government warned that communication over WeChat might be “impaired” as a result of forthcoming policies, but that “users will not be targeted or subject to penalties.”MORE NEWS: COVID: Dr. Anthony Fauci Says It's Safe To Trick Or Treat This Year
“Today’s actions prove once again that President Trump will do everything in his power to guarantee our national security and protect Americans from the threats of the Chinese Communist Party,” said Ross. “At the President’s direction, we have taken significant action to combat China’s malicious collection of American citizens’ personal data, while promoting our national values, democratic rules-based norms, and aggressive enforcement of U.S. laws and regulations.”